By Josh Widdowson, Guest Columnist for The Inscriber
As I walked into my local theater to watch the reboot of Ghostbusters I couldn’t help but think of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and the line about players gonna play and haters gonna hate. This was due to the negative backlash created when the trailer was released for the film on the internet and became the “worst rated video on Youtube”.
It got to the point of nauseating: People slamming the Angry Video Game Nerd for his stance that he won’t go and watch it, to all the negativity surrounding the sexist remarks for the film going with an all-female Ghostbuster squad.
When I came out of the film, I was applauding, laughing, and then I asked myself, “What the heck were those idiots thinking?”
The film is, first and foremost a comedy, so it needs to be funny. Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones pull that off each in their own way, and for McCarthy, it is a very different way. There is sufficient reason for the film’s PG-13 rating, but it isn’t her mouth.
It is great to see her use clean language throughout (most) of the film, and use her naturally funny talents in her role as Dr. Abby Yates.
Ok, here’s the premise: Dr. Erin Gilbert, who is up for tenure at Columbia, co-wrote a book with Dr. Yates about the paranormal, but Gilbert abandoned the project. When it is eventually published several years later without her consent, Gilbert is approached by Ed Mulgrave (Ed Bagley Jr.) who claims a famed ancient house in New York City is haunted.
Reuniting with Yates, and teaming with Yates’ partner at a smaller New York College, Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) on an investigation, the trio come face to face with a ghost (and Gilbert gets slimed in the process). Gilbert announces her belief in ghosts, which is posted on Youtube, and gets her kicked out of Columbia.
A similar fate comes to Yates, which has the three of them starting their own “Department of Metaphysical Examination”, above a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. The trio are joined by the street-smart Patty Tolan, former NY Transit employee and fellow believer of ghosts. They soon discover that a malevolent individual, Rowan North, is planting technology inspired by Gilbert and Yates’ book to summon several ghosts to bring about the end of the world.
The film is a dream team of comedic stars from sketch comedy like SNL and MadTV, but the highlight is seeing the four ladies work together in a smart way, and battling as underdogs throughout the entire film. It’s a jaded world we live in, full of “Ghost Hunters” shows and haunted attractions. But they can prove that the ghosts do exist.
As with any reboot or remake of anything that is fondly remembered in pop culture, it was nice to see “cameos” by all four of the Ghostbusters (You have to stretch that to see Harold Ramis, to whom the film is dedicated in the closing credits), and extra kudos to Chris Hemsworth, who plays the Ghostbusters receptionist Kevin Beckman. I think it can be the first recorded instance of a “him-bo” on film, because his character is dumber than a bag of hammers, but he is fun to laugh at and with.
It’s nice to see that the guy playing “Thor” has a sense of humor.
While the special effects were not as groundbreaking as they were in the original, it was nice to see all the nice touches for the film, including bringing back Slimer and the Stay Puft marshmallow man in different ways. Of course, Slimer is still that disgusting onion-head.
But we want that. As a fan of the original movie, I want that sort of continuity.
The film can best be described as an indoor scary roller coaster: heavily themed, sometimes dark, but you come out on the other side laughing and applauding. The applause in the theater where I went to see it showed me that the crowd was not offended by the all-female cast. Neither was I. Maybe we can see another sequel come out to this? Just make it a bit better, and let’s avoid what happened in Ghostbusters II, ok?
Josh’s Rating: A- (While the bones of the story’s skeleton are the same, they’re good bones and the body built on it remains funny, happy, and a bit scary. And that’s what people want!)
Josh Widdowson lives in Western Pennsylvania, and loves his girlfriend, movies, food and sports. He is a frequent guest columnist for The Inscriber on a variety of topics.